Toyota’s commitment to heritage can apparently only go so far.
In 2019, Toyota Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations Bill Fay told Motor Authority the automaker was “fully committed to the Land Cruiser for the foreseeable future.” The foreseeable future apparently went through 2021.
On Wednesday, a forum member on IH8MUD.com posted that Toyota will discontinue the Land Cruiser in the U.S. after the 2021 model year. The post noted the Land Cruiser’s luxury sibling, the Lexus LX, will live on with a turbocharged V-6 instead of the current 5.7-liter V-8.
A dealership source who wishes to remain anonymous told Motor Authority “unfortunately it’s gone, which I’m pretty bummed about” and “it’s a punch to the gut for all of us enthusiasts who love the product.”
“There’s no illusion it’s coming back and it’s completely dead for the moment,” the source said.
According to the dealer source, the 2021 model year will also see the return of the Heritage Edition Land Cruiser—which was introduced for 2020—but a third-row option will be added. Silver and gray color options will join black and white for the Heritage Edition, though only 10% of the Heritage Editions will be painted in these new colors with the remaining 80% being split between white and black. “Gray and silver will be the hot commodity, unattainable at this point,” said the dealer source.
Toyota announced in 2019 it had sold 10 million Land Cruisers worldwide over the course of 68 years. The Japanese automaker began exporting the SUV in November, 1955, with the introduction of the 50 series.
The Land Cruiser has never been cheap in the U.S., but over the years the iconic off-roader has become luxurious and expensive. The 2020 Heritage Edition cost $89,040. Price, packaging, horrid fuel economy from the 5.7-liter V-8, and little development work have all but stalled Land Cruiser sales in the U.S. Toyota sold just 3,536 Land Cruisers in 2020, which was up from 3.222 in 2018. Toyota sold 614 Land Cruisers in the U.S in the first quarter of 2020, which was down from 807 in the first quarter of 2019.
Toyota spokesman Michael Kroll told Motor Authority “we have nothing to announce at this time.”
The next-generation Toyota Land Cruiser, which will be known as the 300 series (the current model is the 200 series), was supposed to arrive as early as 2021, though it now appears it won’t come to the U.S. market. That vehicle could trade trade the gas-guzzling V-8 for a turbocharged V-6, the same turbocharged V-6 that will power the next-generation Lexus LX. A V-6 hybrid system may be in the cards as well.